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Listen to an audio summary

Without a doubt, sex plays an essential part in building emotional intimacy, closeness, trust, and a deeper connection between partners.

Sadly, many people find it difficult to initiate sex because they fear rejection or the idea of being the one to take the first step feels awkward or uncomfortable.

However, seduction can be incredibly sexy when done well. It shows your partner how desirable they are, whether with a passionate kiss or in more playful ways. It doesn't matter if it's your first time or you're trying to increase how much sex you have with your partner; initiating sex is a skill you can develop with practice.

Seduction can be incredibly sexy whefn done well. It shows your partner how desirable they are, whether with a passionate kiss or in more playful ways.

Perhaps men shouldn't pay too much attention to those fears, as Dr Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., suggests that women would like to initiate proceedings more than they do (within heterosexual couples) and fantasize about making the first move far more than men.

His study, 'Tell Me What You Want,' found only 28% of women initiate sex as opposed to the 50% of men who said they did.


Before we get to our tips, there are a few essential areas we think should be included in any approach to initiating sex:

  • Sex is a shared pleasure, so it should be important to you that your partner's desires are fulfilled.

  • You won't always be on the same page, so it's perfectly acceptable for either of you to say no—politely and kindly, showing sensitivity to avoid hurt feelings—suggesting a better or more appropriate time as an alternative.

  • Respect your partner's boundaries.

  • Plan ahead—taking time to build anticipation and arousal in your partner throughout the day, week, or month will improve your chances of success.

And finally, before we get the ball rolling, sex must always be consensual. Don't make assumptions about anyone's wants, needs, or values—talk about it. Open communication leads to a better sex life, so don't be afraid to talk to each other.

1. Let your partner know how you feel (in a respectful way)

A lot of people don't see communication as sexy. In fact, for many, it feels awkward. However, the more you talk to each other about sex, the easier it gets and the better your sex will be.

"Couples communication has proven to be positively associated with all domains of sexual function (desire, arousal, erection, lubrication, orgasm, less pain) and overall sexual function." Couples’ Sexual Communication and Dimensions of Sexual Function -- from The Journal of Sex Research

Telling your partner you're ready to sleep with them—or that you'd like to have more sex—but aren't sure how to initiate sex with them is a positive first step. Not only will they feel desired, but they'll tell you how to get them in the mood and when they're most likely to be receptive to your advances.

How to tell your partner how you feel

Be straight with them. Don't wait until you're in bed; have those conversations outside the bedroom. It takes bravery to open up about sex, and showing vulnerability, openness, and trust is one way we build closer relationships with our partners.

2. Using consent to build the mood

Asking for permission shows respect. When done correctly, it can also be incredibly sexy and thought of as dirty talk.

How to use consent to initiate sex

A few simple questions carefully added to your conversation can assure you that your partner is ready.

For example, "Do you want me to kiss more than your neck?", "Would you like me to slide my hand into your pants?" or "Shall we take this to the bedroom?" are all suggestions that move things forward while gaining approval.

3. Be Romantic

Romance is a common love language for many people. Those intimate moments that make our partners feel desired are invaluable for building intimacy and connection.

How to use romance to initiate sex

Romance means different things to different people.

It could be their favorite restaurant, a romantic break, or thoughtful gifts (such as sexy lingerie), or it could be cooking dinner, taking care of your partner's chores, or simply setting the mood in a way you know they like.

Romance means different things to different people.

Ultimately, romance is about being thoughtful. Knowing what makes your partner feel special and acting on it shows how much you care while also introducing one of society's most traditional ways to initiate sex.

4. Be Flirty

Flirting—with conversation or body language—sends recognizable signals that you're attracted to somebody or that you're interested in initiating sex. It can be playful or intense, conversational or non-verbal. A few provocative suggestions or light touches can change the mood of a conversation in seconds.

How to use flirting to enhance your sex life

Introducing a few sexy topics into your conversation raises the stakes, alerting your partner to what you're thinking. A little flirting can soon grow into dirty talking (if that works for you both) and is an obvious cue for initiating sex.

Compliments can be flirty, too, which leads us nicely to our next topic.

5. Compliment your partner

We all like to hear good things about ourselves; some well-timed compliments will help your partner feel noticed, attractive, and appreciated. Telling them how attractive they are will boost their confidence and sense of desirability.

How compliments can build a healthy sex life

Be genuine. Don't just tell them what you think they want to hear to get them in bed; they'll see right through you.

Compliment them about their achievements and qualities before moving on to more personal and sexual topics.

Start with something they've done that day, giving them genuine praise. Use the conversation to relax them and make them feel appreciated, admired, and wanted. When the time is right, tell them how great they look, referencing their appearance, before moving on to just how attractive you find their body beneath their clothes.

6. Be creative with your kissing

Kissing releases masses of feel-good, sexually arousing hormones that prepare us for sex. It communicates care and desire for your partner; passionate, intense kissing lets them know you're in the mood for more. It's also a traditional cue to initiate sex.

Regarding kissing and initiating sex, this study (in the Archives of Sexual Behavior), 'Examining the Possible Functions of Kissing in Romantic Relationships,' found that kissing was more important to women than men, especially with long-term couples. Those in short-term relationships said that kissing was most important before sex and less important during and afterward.

How to use kissing to initiate sex

Slow lingering kisses that build into something more passionate pave the way for great sex.

Kissing their neck, behind their ears, and moving down their body will send the message that there's more fun and excitement to come.

7. Let them know how they turn you on

Telling your partner how they turn you on works in two ways. First, it tells them that they're attractive and desirable and that you're aroused and ready to initiate sex. Second, if they know what turns you on, they know exactly how to initiate sex with you when they want it.

Psychologist Petra Zebroff, Ph.D., tells us why we need to open up about sexual initiation in her article on Psychology Today:

"I have asked thousands of men and women in long-term relationships to weigh in on their experiences with sexual initiation—how they like it, what turns them on, and whether they are satisfied with how sex is initiated in their current relationship.

Two results stand out:

  1. Many people are unhappy with the way their partner initiates sex.
  2. Everyone is different when it comes to how they want sex to start."

    How to tell your partner how they turn you on

    Just tell them. Clear communication is the most direct way to let your partner know how you feel, so spark up a conversation and get it out in the open. Tell them the things you found hot the last time you had sex or how irresistible they look in a particular outfit, underwear, or even a particular way they walk or talk that you find a turn-on.

    8. Send sexy text messages

    Texting or sexting is a great way to let your partner know you're thinking of them when you're apart. Triggering a sexual response can plant the seeds of arousal, preparing your partner for what you want to happen.

    How to use texts to initiate sex

    Start early in the day with something innocent, slowly building the heat by telling them what you'd like to happen when you next see them.

    However, it is important to read the cues in their replies and keep a relevant tone. They might be doing something where a little sexy texting is completely inappropriate.


    9. Share your fantasies

    Knowing each other's kinks helps you to satisfy each other in new and exciting ways, resulting in a more regular and robust sex life.

    Again, open communication is key to an active sex life. Sharing fantasies provides couples with a sex bucket list that many in long-term relationships find helps keep things interesting.

    How to share your fantasies to initiate sex

    This is another conversation better had outside the bedroom. Perhaps you could have that chat as a precursor to a date night where you'll start to tick them off? With your sex bucket list decided, why not text your partner earlier in the day, asking them if they'd like to try one of them later?

    10. Suggest showering together

    Being naked together and having that skin-on-skin connection is incredibly intimate.

    How to use showering together to initiate sex

    Why not try flirtily asking if they'd like to save water by showering together? They'll get the point straight away, and once you're naked under the water together, lathering each other up makes for a very sensual and sexy massage, delivering personal care and a very provocative, slippery connection.

    11. Use humor

    Humor has been linked to intelligence and confidence; two attributes suggested we find attractive in others. We often use humor to lighten a situation and relax the people around us. If your partner finds humor sexy, why not use that skill to flirt with them and get them into bed?

    "Our findings showed that participants’ romantic interest increased when they were on the receiving end of humor, particularly positive humor." --  Strategically Funny: Romantic Motives Affect Humor Style in Relationship Initiation from Europe's Journal of Psychology

    How to use humor to initiate sex

    Build humor into your flirting. Sex should be fun, so why not embrace the odd cheesy line to get your partner out of their clothes?

    "What makes love like a tiger and winks?" Wink at them and ask them if they'd like to find out if it's true.

    12. Bring in sex toys or props

    Using sex toys and props gives you a great excuse to have more fun in the bedroom and more sex.

    How to use sex toys when initiating sex

    Suggest going on a sex toy spending spree to expand your collection and develop your sexual repertoire. Whether you send a sexy text asking your partner if they'd like to take out a particular toy that night or leave it on the bed with a sexy note, it's a simple way to initiate sex without saying a word.

    13. Give them a sensual massage

    Not only does massage relax muscles, soothe aching joints and limbs, but it also shows your complete attention to your partner's pleasure. Physical touch, especially skin contact, creates intimacy and triggers arousal.

    How to give your partner a sensual massage

    Set the mood with relaxing music, candles, and soft lighting. Using specialist massage oils (does your partner have a favorite scent?), start at the shoulders and neck, working slowly down their body, taking your time and showing plenty of attention to each limb and muscle.

    Using our consent tip, ask them if they'd like you to massage the other parts of their body, which will lead to far more personal attention.

    How to initiate sex when a couple has mismatched libidos

    In this last section, we consider what can help when you've hit a dry spell in your relationship. If you're not enjoying as much sex as you'd like and you think is healthy, the first step is talking about it.

    1. Choose a good time to bring it up

      Why is timing so important? There could be more to the problem than mismatched sex drives. Your partner could be going through something you're unaware of, and sex is the last thing on their mind. To give this delicate conversation the time it justifies, make sure you're alone, relaxed, and have the peace of mind to discuss the matter with care and sensitivity.

      How to talk about mismatched sex drives

      The key rule is never to associate blame. If your ideas about your sex schedule are different, or if your needs aren't aligned in quite the same way, it's about finding a balance that's better for both of you, not blaming one partner and expecting them to change.

      Take your time, be kind, and introduce positive suggestions to try and get your sex life back into a healthy place.

    2. Consider planning or scheduling

      Planning an occasion to have sex helps couples make time for those intimate moments around life's hectic agenda.

      Too often, sex gets pushed to the bottom of the list when we're busy with work, family, and daily chores, leaving you exhausted, and the only thing on your mind when you climb into bed is getting a good night's sleep. Scheduling time for sex ensures you save some of your energy for your relationship. This doesn't just mean you get to have sex but shows you value each other and your relationship. Without making time for each other, it can suggest that your relationship isn't as important as the school run, putting the garbage out, and paying the bills.

      How to schedule sex

      Build sex into your date nights (and if you don't have date nights, start putting those on your planner, too), or find a mutual time when you're both free and have time to relax together. Don't just mark out fifteen minutes to take care of business; treat it as an occasion to look forward to.

      The anticipation of scheduled sex can help get you both in the mood, and planning a specific sex session (something from your fantasy or bucket list, perhaps?) will help create the atmosphere you're looking for.

    3. Suggest Sex Therapy

      Why do some couples choose to involve a sex therapist? When you feel unwell, you see a doctor, and if you're struggling with your mental health, you talk to your therapist; if you've come to an impasse regarding your sex life that you can't work out yourself, then engaging a professional to help negotiate the issue is exactly the same thing.

      How to suggest sex therapy to your partner

      Once more, the answer is open communication. If your partner is struggling with sex, be patient and kind, suggesting you may need help—as a couple—to get things back on track. This is a difficult topic at the best of times, and your best results will come from dealing with it as a relationship issue, not your partner's problem.

    Our top tip for initiating sex: Build all of these into your everyday life as a foundation for a better sex life

    Building intimacy starts long before you get to the bedroom. Earning your partner's trust and respect means working on every part of your relationship. When we feel heard, respected, and loved, intimacy grows, which leads to stronger emotional connection and desire.

    So don't just shower them with compliments, an occasional back massage, or flirt, touch, and kiss them solely when you want sex. As much as these acts can help to stimulate sexual desires, they also show you care and desire your partner beyond your sex life.

    Building intimacy starts long before you get to the bedroom. Earning your partner's trust and respect means working on every part of your relationship.

    Consider our tips as long-term foreplay as well as short-term. Build a solid foundation of intimacy and desire, and you'll have far more success instigating sexual activity when you start initiating sex.

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    Summary

    Whether initiating sex with a new partner or in a long-term relationship, our tips on how to initiate sex can help you introduce new ways to have more sex with your partner.

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